by Susannah Mitchell

The dictionary defines the word “stereotype” as “an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic.” Stereotypes are ever-present in today’s society, and stereotyping is a common practice, no matter what group one is a part of.

 

“When people say stereotypes are gone…” Sheppard said. “They’re still there, lingering.”From the foods that she eats to how she styles her hair, Sheppard says that people make certain assumptions about who she is because she is African American. It is because of these false beliefs that she decided to record a podcast about stereotyping and to uncover why many people tend to rely on it, and what they think of it.

Before she even began her podcast, Sheppard had to first learn what one was. After that, she chose her topic, making sure to pick one that had depth, and that was easy to understand and relate to. Then, she began researching and selecting interview subjects, as well as figuring out the form her podcast would take: whether it would be a narrative or a Q&A. Once she’d done all of that work and made her decisions, she began recording.

One of the difficulties Sheppard faced during this process was finding people to interview. Several times she forgot to press the “record” button on her recorder, meaning she would have to keep interviewing different people. Another issue was finding the right times to interview people, because everyone had varying schedules.

The final step in creating Sheppard’s podcast was editing everything together. This was her favorite part of the whole process, because she was able to play around with the audio editing software and add her own “personal touch” to the podcast.

“I just liked…making the whole thing flow,” Sheppard said. “Taking bits and pieces and making one big thing.”

The whole process took about two weeks. During this time, Sheppard said she learned how to research and find factual information to back up her own personal views. She also learned how to get the people she was interviewing to open up more, and how to get more information for her podcast from them.

Sheppard hopes that by listening to her podcast, people will learn to not be so quick to stereotype others. She thinks that this will lead to the questioning of discrimination and other issues with how we perceive people.

“We are all people at the end of the day,” Sheppard said. “In the dark you can’t tell who’s black or who’s white. It’s all a matter of thought.”